Register for a training program:

Series 1 – Anita O’Brien – Wednesdays 7:30pm – 9 pm August 17 – September 28 – Sessions complete

Series 2 – Dean Cober– Thursdays 7:30 pm – 9 pm October 13 – November 24 – Sessions in progress

Series 3 – Birgit Martin– Tuesdays 7:30 pm – 9 pm January 10 – February 21

The Ontario Forage Council is providing the provincial delivery of the Advanced Grazing Systems program. The program offers training for producers to gain expertise in rotational grazing. The curriculum is designed to teach farmers key concepts and develop a rotational grazing plan for their operation. In addition to the course content, the program will create a support network of other grazing producers and provide instructional support resources. The Advanced Grazing Systems program is supported by Farmers for Climate Solutions in partnership with the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association.

The program will be delivered in three separate series of seven online sessions; followed by field days in spring/summer 2023 to demonstrate the implementation of systems outlined in the program modules.  By the end of the program, participants will have completed a personalized grazing plan for their operation that can accompany their application for funding through Ontario Soil and Crop Association’s Ontario On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF).  Participants are asked to advise their mentor if they have pre-approved projects through this program.  

Registration numbers for each series will be capped, so early registration is recommended. 

Producers can also take part in online training through CFGA’s Advanced Grazing Systems course which provides the basics of rotational grazing, and work with a mentor to receive additional support. 

Completion of the Advanced Grazing Systems mentorship series is an OSCIA-recognized On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF) Knowledge Sharing Event for applicants with approved Rotational Grazing Systems projects. Questions about OFCAF should be directed to OFCAF@ontariosoilcrop.org

Meet the Mentors!

Anita O’Brien

Along with my partner Al, I operate a pasture-based commercial sheep farm near Lansdowne, Ontario since 1993. The home farm is nestled on the edge of the Precambrian Shield, with a mix of heavy clay farmland and hardwood-covered granite ridges, providing a range of pasture types including shallow /rocky for early grazing and river bottoms for drought-proof grazing. We also practice silvopasture on 2 small pasture blocks. We utilize both permanent and temporary fencing with a combination of electric and solar-charged fence energizers to effectively manage pastures, sheep, Livestock Guardian Dogs, and predators. Our typical grazing season runs May 1st through December 10, with a few starting mid April and a few others finishing up closer to Christmas. When the flock was much larger, we used the sheep to reclaim nearby “unused / abandoned” farmland turning them into productive pastures. Our sheep are outwintered with dry round hay bales unrolled on selected pastures and hayland. Looking forward to sharing grazing knowledge I’ve gained on this farming journey and from my agriculture extension days.

Dean Cober

I farm with my wife Carolyn and three children Levi(6), Grace(4), and Abigail(1), between Owen Sound and Meaford on hwy 26 in beautiful Grey County. We run a purebred Red Angus (and perhaps a few hereford) herd with a focus on producing seedstock females and a few bulls every year. Maximizing grass utilization and discovering how to graze with cropping systems are a journey we are on, every day is a potential learning experience. Along with grazing, we produce horse quality small squares, custom hay and dabble in cropping. I also work for the CAT dealer and travel to remote mine sites to finance the farming, with the goal of farming full time one day. 

You can find us on twitter – @ cobercow, where we love to share what we are up to!

Birgit Martin

Hello, I am Birgit Martin.  I farm with my husband, Jim, and 2 sons, Nick and Alex, on western Manitoulin Island.  We have a large cow-calf through-to-finish operation where we produce both grain-finished and grass-finished beef for our brand, Pure Island Beef.  We also custom graze 300-400 steers each summer.

Grazing is integral to our entire operation whether it is for the cow herd, replacement heifers, grass finishers, our own stockers or the custom grazed steers.  We have several different types of pastures, from extensive, shallow soiled ‘ranch’ land to highly managed improved pastures.  So the management varies too.

Before farming full time with my family, I was a CCA in a crop inputs business for 20 years.  My degree at the University of Guelph was with a major in Agronomy and a focus on forage management.  I spent a co-op work semester on a dairy farm in New Zealand as well.  And before all this, I grew up on a dairy farm that focused on intensive pasture management for the dairy herd.